ANTH 2303 Lecture 29: 11-16-2016 Subsistence Analysis

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ANTH 2303
Subsistence Analysis
Subsistence = food
Two types of evidence for determining subsistence
o Direct the food items themselves
o Indirect tools and modifications to landscape, ecological evidence, most notably
Two categories of subsistence
o Faunal remains animals
o Floral remains plants
Matrix of the two types of evidence and the two categories of subsistence
o Indirect Faunal evidence
Projectile points
Fish hooks
Fish nets
Cooking pots
Cooking craters
Atl atl
Knives (if you can identify that they were used for faunal subsistence)
o Direct Faunal Analytic Technique
MNI minimum number of individuals, determined by counting the
frequency of common/shared skeletal elements for each species
o 18 rib rib fragment
o 3 left femur fragments
o 1 right ulna fragment
Problem with this method: the assumption is that the whole animal
is consumed, which is not how people normally eat, this is not
typical of states but for a big man society or a chiefdom it is
Skeletal Allometry ratio of flesh to bone for each species, used to get
around the problem of MNI
You can tell the weight of the meat from the weight of the bone
This eliminates the assumption that the entire animal is consumed
Problem: meat is not evenly distributed on the skeleton
o Indirect Floral evidence:
Pollen male sex gametes of plants and their shape is specie specific, so
you can identify the type of plant that grew in an environment based on
pollen shape
Food processing tools
Irrigation canals
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